Monday, July 5, 2010

I Thought I'd Tri It

Starting back in May, I got bit by the race bug, and it was bad. I had already signed up for three half marathons over the course of the year and for some reason I found it very hard to resist signing up for more. Here's a list of the races to come:

July 25--SheROX Triathlon in Webster, MA. 0.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, 3 mile run.

August 28--100on100 Relay Race in Vermont. Basically, I'm on a team of 6 people and we each run 3 legs of 5-7 miles each over the course of the day along Route 100 in Vermont. This means we'll each run between 15-18 miles, totaling up to 100 miles. Vermont is hilly, fyi.

October 3--Harwich Cranberry Harvest Half Marathon in Harwich, MA

October 17--THE RACE: Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, CA

Fact: the last time I swam a lap in a pool was during summer gym in high school at the age of 16.
Fact: Over this past weekend, I went to my friend's lake house up in New Hampshire and did some swimming in the lake.
Fact: Swimming in such a vast expanse of open water gives me the heebie jeebies.

You should be scratching your head right about now, wondering why in the world I would sign up to do a triathlon, given that the above three statements that are presented as facts are, actually, facts. Well I'm wondering that too.

Fact is, I decided to do the triathlon with my friend Kendra because I thought it would be great motivation to begin cross training for the marathon. Cross training is nearly any form of aerobic exercise that does not involve walking or running. It helps with training and also saves your body from the wear and tear of running every day. Prior to last October 2009, exercise for me consisted of running once or twice every month and attempting to do some core work every so often when I felt like it, so going to the gym and getting on the bike and the elliptical was not my thing, and swimming a lap or two was definitely not my thing. According to our Team in Training coach, Adam, swimming and biking are two of the best ways to cross train.

My plan to force myself into cross training mode by signing up for yet another race that required me to do something besides run worked and at the same time failed.

Here's how it worked: I've been going to spin classes at Healthworks Fitness Center and I absolutely love them. Classes last from 45 minutes to an hour and you get to work at your own pace, despite the fact that it actually is a class. Also, you sweat like you've never sweat before, and although it takes a few minutes to stop being so grossed out by yourself that you want to curl into a tight ball in the corner of a cold shower somewhere, it's a great feeling to have such a physical reaction to hard work. Seriously, it's worse than going running at noon in the middle of July.

Here's how it failed: today was the first day in 10 years that I have gone swimming for more than 10 feet. Luckily for me, I think I'll be okay in both the biking and running portion of the race, so as long as I don't get kicked in the face by the hundreds of other people who will be in the lake racing alongside me, leaving my flailing arms in the dust, er splash, as they zoom by with their "real" strokes like the crawl and backstroke.

 Not drowning, but waving

In the water next to the kayak

 Post swimming
Safely in the kayak

Something I learned as I was swimming in the giant lake that gave me the heebie jeebies is that I do have a natural talent for treading water and moving with the current. Looking at my calendar, I'd say I have about 20 days to give up the idea of buying arm floats and start working on my doggy paddle.

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